this is set a short while after part ii. you'll be glad to know this is going to be fluffy (how does one write fluff?) as it concerns a certain unposted letter, if you catch my drift ;) this will be the final part, i think, just as a short conclusion to the arc i've spawned. i've had the most fun writing this series and i'm really happy with the response it's gotten so thank you very much for that. and finally, we hear from freddie now...
"Freddie, can you go and get my scheduling diary please? It's in my desk drawer."
There's twenty minutes before recording, and Freddie wants to complain he's been coddled as the general dogsbody since he got back to work (for three days out of each week, at Bel's steadfast insistence and Mr Brown's tacit agreement) but Bel's voice has that note of harried that he knows better than to argue with. It's enough to be here anyway. The frenetic rush of lights and camera and stories before a shoot is contagious, from wherever he is in the studio. And he sees Bel having to actively try not to worried every time he so much as winces a little from a shooting pain so he'll humour her on this one.
Freddie flips on the lights once in her office, slipping behind her desk and sitting down in her worn faux-leather chair. Around the rim, there's a patch of loose threads because she always picks at it when she's bored. He half-smiles and opens the drawer. The diary is on top, all its pages dog-eared with a plethora of notes sticking out the side. He's about to close the drawer and head back but under a box of pens, almost hidden from view, a familiar post code in an even more familiar hand catches his eye.
It's a letter. Addressed to him, to his address in San Francisco. Diary and even the shoot forgotten, Freddie stares at the envelope for a long time. All it lacked was a postage stamp and a seal.
His mother used to tell him (sometimes with exasperation) he came out of the womb asking 'why?', which, after the age of eight, he realised obviously wasn't true. It is true, however, that it's what he's been asking for a good deal of his life. And now, sitting in Bel Rowley's office with an unsent letter in his hands, it's all he can think. If she wrote to him, why didn't she tell him? Most importantly, why didn't she send it? Why? Freddie feels guilty when he turns it over to open it, even though it's addressed to him, there's obviously a reason Bel never sent it even if he cannot fathom it himself. But there are not many forces in the world that can stop Freddie when he asks why?
Freddie reads it once, then he reads it again. Then, so her elegant words on the page are the things he sees behind his eyelids when he shuts his eyes, he reads it over again. He commits every word, every letter, every curve of her pen, to his eidetic memory. I love you, Freddie Lyon. The phrase seems to exist in an echo chamber inside his head, filling every corner. Before he's even really taken stock of what he's doing, he's up and out of her chair—the letter left, but not ever forgotten on her desk. It faintly occurs to him as he's striding back to the studio that he's gone and left her diary on the desk too, the one thing he went for, but he can go back for it in a minute. There's something he has to do, urgently.
There's ten minutes before recording, and Freddie doesn't look at anyone else when he close-to-bounds down the stairs and onto the studio floor. Bel turns to him when she hears him coming. She squints at him, seeing him diary-less and with a look of ardour on his face that was more suited for their bedroom than the studio floor ten minutes before filming. "I don't care if you don't think you're brave," he tells her once he reaches her, slightly breathless. "Because I do."
He takes another step forward and presses his lips to hers, in front of everyone. They hadn't told anyone about them yet, but Freddie suspects Lixknows something had changed between them because Lix sees everything. Bel's surprised by his kiss, but responds in kind. He only breaks away when he realises how eerily silent the studio has become, and when he leans his forehead against hers, he knows everyone is staring. Someone is slow-clapping. Again, he suspects it's Lix.
"And I love you too, Bel Rowley."